August 8, 2008
For Slavonic, slap shots preceded swim moves
MORGANTOWN--Sure, he wasn't always 6-foot-7, 264 pounds. But it's no shock to learn that West Virginia defensive tackle Doug Slavonic always stood head and shoulders above his competition as a child growing up in suburban Pittsburgh. Still, Slavonic's favorite sport as an adolescent may come as a surprise. Hint: it involved helmets and pads, but no pigskin.
Indeed, Slavonic first tasted athletic success on the ice rinks in and around his hometown of Mount Lebanon. In a harbinger of his athletic future, Slavonic took an immediate liking to the combination of fast-paced action and high-speed collisions frequently found in ice hockey. "I was a natural defenseman," said a smiling Slavonic on a recent afternoon at the Milan Puskar Center. "I had a big shot from the point. If the other team was lucky, it went on net. If it didn't, somebody was going to get hurt."
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